Former Isaac Bear teacher facing charges for alleged incidents dating back to 2003

Former Isaac Bear teacher facing charges for alleged incidents dating back to 2003
Michael Kelly in court.
Michael Kelly (Source: New Hanover Co. Detention Center)
Michael Kelly (Source: New Hanover Co. Detention Center)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A former Isaac Bear Early College teacher accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with students now is facing more than 50 charges, including some dating back to 2003, the same year a parent of a student filed a complaint about Kelly's behavior to school officials.

Michael Earl Kelly was charged with 25 additional charges, including 13 counts of indecent liberties with a child and eight counts of indecent liberties with a student.

According to arrest warrants, the new charges involve seven victims and date back as far as 2003 when Kelly was a teacher at E.A. Laney High School.

Warrants state that Kelly is facing seven counts of indecent liberties with a student involving two alleged victims from 2003 to 2006 during his time at Laney.

Several of the new charges stem from alleged incidents that took place in 2007, 2008 and 2009 with victims as young as 14 years old.

In the most recent of the incidents, Kelly is accused of showing a 14-year-old a picture of another alleged 14-year-old victim "holding his erect penis in his hand" between Sept. 1 and Dec. 21, 2017.

Kelly initially was arrested on Feb. 6 on charges of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of indecent liberties with a student.

On Feb. 26, 28 additional charges were filed against Kelly, including 14 counts of indecent liberties with a student and five counts of indecent liberties with a child.

A mother of one of Kelly's former students told WECT in February that she went directly to Kelly to express concerns about his behavior with students in 2003 before going to then-Laney principal Dr. Rick Holiday.

After feeling she was not getting anywhere, Carolina Kuebler said she filed a formal written complaint to New Hanover County School's central office.

NHCS spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum wrote in an email to WECT on Feb. 8 that, "in reference to Michael Kelly, there were no dismissal, suspension, or demotion for disciplinary reasons until this recent incident. No complaints received in the Division of Human Resources prior to this recent incident."

Kelly was fired from his job as a science teacher at Isaac Bear by the New Hanover County Board of Education last month.

He remains in the New Hanover County Jail under a $2 million bond.

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